NJ Politics Digest: State Could Impose Fines for GoFundMe Scams

Republican Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced a measure that would set mandatory jail time, fines and restitution for those convicted of taking advantage of people's generosity on crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe.


Mark D'Amico, Kate McClure and on Megyn Kelly Today on August 27, 2018.
Mark D’Amico, Kate McClure and on Megyn Kelly Today on August 27, 2018. Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Planning a scam on GoFundMe? You’d better make sure you have the cash to pay up in case you get caught.

Reports of how a New Jersey couple and a Philadelphia man allegedly conspired in a scheme that pulled in about $400,000 in donations on crowd-funding site GoFundMe has one state lawmaker proposing a plan to levy tough fines on those who try something similar, according to a report by NJ.com.

Republican Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced a measure that would set mandatory jail time, fines and restitution for those convicted of taking advantage of people’s generosity on such sites.
Dancer said his plan was inspired by stories of how New Jersey residents Kate McClure and Mark D’Amico in 2017 allegedly cooked up a story that homeless man Johnny Bobbitt helped McClure with his last $20 in hopes of scoring big with a fake campaign to benefit Bobbitt and reward him for his generosity. The campaign, that originally sought to raise $10,000, wound up bringing in much more and garnering international attention. But the alleged plot unravelled when Bobbitt started complaining that the couple was spending the money on trips and expensive cars. Authorities stepped in, and all three were charged with theft by deception.

GoFundMe paid refunds to all who donated. Under Dancer’s bill, those convicted would face a fine of up to $500 for each donation collected under false circumstances. The money would be used to help the homeless and others needing housing assistance.

Quote of the Day: “It’s really for the governor to decide. It’s an organization that obviously supports him, and I’ve read the articles where he says he doesn’t question, that he expects them to report,” — Senate President Steve Sweeney, responding to reports that a non-profit group pushing Gov. Phil Murphy’s agenda would not disclose a list of its major donors.

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NJ Politics Digest: State Could Impose Fines for GoFundMe Scams